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Ombudsman finds WC public order police unit understaffed

The Western Cape Police Ombudsman Johan Brand has found the Western Cape’s Public Order unit does not have enough personnel.

FILE: A Public Order Police officer walks passed a pile of burning debris used as a roadblock during riots. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Police have a serious problem addressing public violence in the Overberg.

This is a finding of the Western Cape Police Ombudsman who has investigated inefficiencies in the region.

He also found officers attached to public order policing are used beyond their mandate of crowd management.

The Western Cape Police Ombudsman Johan Brand found that the Western Cape’s public order unit did not have enough personnel.

The unit also had a shortage of armoured vehicles, some of which were waiting to be repaired.

When protests erupted in the Overberg, the Boland unit based in Paarl was despatched, which resulted in a slow response.

Police management told Brand that more public order policing units were needed in the province.

Currently, there were units in Cape Town, the Boland and the southern Cape.

According to the Ombudsman's report, additional units were needed in the Overberg and the West Coast to reduce response times and effectiveness.